The same could be said for writing. I'm realizing as I write more that I have to be happy with what I write as well as be aware of what my readers need. So, I've actually taken the time to ask one or two who've read a few of my books what they liked.
One said, "I like that you don't just write sex. You build the story. I like story." Perfect. I like story, too. I'm not trying to write porn. I'm trying to introduce you to the men I see in my head, get you to know them. Do I love the smexy? Just as much as anyone else, but give me the story first.
Another said, "I like that your guys seem real." That's good, too. Yes, I know they're in my head, but that doesn't make them any less real to me than they are to the people who meet them. It's funny how sometimes I have an idea of who I want them to be, who I want them to love only to learn that they don't care what I want. I simply have to go along for the ride, and it's a ride I enjoy.
What do I need to improve? Well, thank goodness for betas, because before the books make it to my readers, we have killed the superfluous use of backstory, the word "that", the need to say one thing three different ways and the tense change. Oh, and let's not forget that whole show versus tell monster. Without them? It's over. Just over.
Being happy as a person and a writer means three things for me:
1. Be willing to change - I don't have to be in a box, and I'm not going to be. I have to be willing to grow to see beyond limitations both in my life and how I live it as well as how I write. It means seeing beyond the limitations others may set for me.
Know that you are capable of more than even you know.
2. Take care of my craft by taking care of me - That whole lose weight deal became very real for me recently. I usually exercise and eat well, but prior to a few weeks ago, I settled into a rut. Well, like a domino effect, some crazy went down.
Food poisoning, some girl issues, or lack of, led to some seriously uncomfortable testing which made me lose time and spend a portion of it in several doctor's offices. Why? Well, it turns out if you don't take care of you, then you will have health problems. Go figure!
So back to walking, swimming and eating well. Can't be there for my family if I don't. Can't write if I don't. Taking care of me allows that to happen.
Hey, are you taking care of you?
3. Do what I love - If I'm going to be happy, I have to do what I love. Do the parenting thing. Do the family thing. Do the friendship thing. Do the teaching thing. Do the music thing. Do the writing thing. Whatever it is, do it because I love it, and put my all into it. I love to write. It's a part of me, something I just can't let go. If I'm going to do it, I have to do it well which means regular practice, studying, and reading.
Hey, Pixar says it best (Okay, maybe not best, but they do a really fabulous job of it).
See this link for the whole image. It's worth a look.
I heard something interesting today. Slow down.
Don't be in such a hurry. Value the things you love. Live in the top right quadrant, things that are important but not urgent. Breathe.
My life is not a competition, no commentators on the sidelines worthy of my attention. Yours shouldn't be either. That includes the naysayers and the critics. My writing is not a game, a place where I put undue stress on myself to be better than the next person or try to meet everyone else's needs. Write because you love to write and because you want to reach the audience that enjoys what you put your heart and soul into. It takes time for that, so be patient.
That doesn't mean you don't do a few things. For example, Amy Lane says it's important to know your genre, to know who you write like so you're able to pitch to someone else unfamiliar with your style.
Learning from others, reading others, studying the ones who went before you? That's a good thing. Frustrating yourself about why you can't be them? Not.
So, slow down.
Be willing to change. Take care of myself. Do what I love. Breathe. Live.
Sounds good to me.
Oh, and on the writing front, I'm working on that story, the one that appeared in my head when I took the Concealed Carry class, the very flirty guy and the cowboy who fell in love with him. I'm really excited about them. And, wow, finding their names? That took work.
Ah, and I did get the certificate in the mail by the way, the one that allows me to hide a weapon. Have I done anything with it?
No. Still thinking.
But, making empty promises? Resolutions?
Who needs them when you can just choose to love you?
Happy New Year